Joel Bee, Ballarat Bad Boy, 2.5m: Most likely the best Call of Duty players on the VAL, the Ballarat Bad Boy ran magnificently in Albury to salute in style. Has worn a tough penalty here and even a strong semi performance would be a great effort.
"Super" Sam Jamieson, 2.75m: One of the best Stawell wins in recent history, Super has the ability and then some. Will be up to his neck in this one, if he's recovered from the whiplash of his handbrake last weekend.
Khan "Magic" Marr, 3.0m: From his novice win at Gippsland, Magic Marr has been an amazing sight running down the track. After looking the part in heats and semis, Magic seems to go missing in the finals, so Mirrorz wonders whether a larger gift is the aim for Magic.
Aaron Stubbs, 3.25m: Former Stawell Gift winner, Stubbs is a man not short on confidence, and will fancy his chances here. Impressive in Tassie, can he find the metre or two on his heat run there to challenge for the win? Mirrorz once asked Aaron the time, he replied “yeah I’ve won Stawell”.
Adrian Mott, the Hawthorn Hearthrob, 3.25m: The Hawthorn Hearthrob had a great weekend of racing just gone with a 10.50 at interclub and a very impressive final appearance in the Don. Has a much better mark here against the other backies, and will final.
Tom “Bad Back” Burbidge, 3.5m: If his back is right, Bad Back could find 15m like in 2009, so you can’t discount him ever. Is training for the quarter mile, so may lack the pure speed to win off his mark.
Tom “Temper” Templeton 3.5m: Competing very sparingly over the past two years, Temper is back. Many observers admire his natural talent, and will be very interested in how he goes after a long break.
Carl Morehouse, the Chelsea Cyclone, 3.75m: Still impressed from the Cyclone's efforts at Northcote, but feel his training partners have put in more consistent work for an early Feb 100m.
Dale “Windmill” Woodhams, 4.25m: You don’t run second in the Stawell Gift unless you are quality – which is Windmill. If his body is in one piece he will put in a good race, but Mirrorz is unsure how the Windmill will stack up against his more fancied rivals.
Brendan Matthews, the Canberra Cannonnball, 4.5m: If the Cannonball’s hamstrings are good to go, the 2011 Black Opal winner will give this plenty of cheek. Along with Bad Back, the only Matty B Dept runners here and remember their impressive strike rate.
Cam Dunbar, the Ringwood Rambo, 4.5m: Rambo has won plenty of late, so you would have to expect others to take over for this one. Mirrorz still loves this man though, and could definitely see him get through the rounds here.
Matthew Hargreaves, Tarneit Thunder, 4.5m: One of the most honest pro runners out there, giving his all in every race, the Tarneit Thunder always has to be considered. Good mark here, can final.
"Bulging" Bryce Teo, 4.75m: So called for his excessively tight shorts, Bulging has a large amount of talent, but has been handicapped strongly, and Mirrorz expects a few ticks before a huge performance over the 120m.
Craig “King” Brown, 4.75m: The return of the King! King Brown has an amazing pro resume, and is looking to add to it with a strong run here. Need to see more from the King over the coming weeks to recommend punters, but if he comes to do a job, he does that job!
Kevin Brittain, the Grovedale Goer, 4.75m: Not near Easter yet, so not near top form. The Goer will semi easily, and possibly final, but wont be the one that wins this.
James Vine, Machine of Malvern , 4.75m: Most famous for his guest list at Factory, it’s the debut VAL appearance for the Machine of Malvern. Mirrorz can’t find anything on this smokey, so is looking forward to washing the Machine under lights.
Luke Barisic, the Carnegie Cruiser, 5m: Another debutant in the VAL, the Cruiser is another Mirrorz will need to see more of before an accurate preview can be provided.
Benjamin "Dream Weaver", 5.25m: Dream Weaver is still feeling the effects of his Stawell placings with some very tight marks. Did PB on both squats and bench on Monday night though, so at the peak of his powers.
Alex Saliu, the Prince, 5.5m: In terms of raw ability, the Prince would be equal to any. Some of his runs have invoked fear in the masses. It’s all-dependent on which Prince rocks up to the lush greens of Toorak Park. Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.
“Big” Ben Vickery, 5.5m: Big Ben hasn’t been sighted this season, so hard to make a good judgement here. Will be better for the run and expect some improvement over the coming meets.
Sean Hargreaves, the Werribee Wonder, 5.75m: The most complete pro-runner on the circuit, the Werribee Wonder always shines in the big events. Had a week off last weekend so will arrive fresh and ready for this.
Daniel White-Alikakos, the Glen Iris Gazelle, 5.75m: New to the VAL scene, the Glen Iris Gazelle has had some very impressive results over the quarter mile. If his early speed matches his speed endurance could bob up with a spot in the semis. Rumoured to be trialing Usain Bolt’s pre-Beijing diet of chicken nuggets.
Chris Hargreaves, the Werribee Weapon, 5.75m: Queanbeyan Gift winner, the Werribee Weapon will be competitive off his mark. The best exponent of the JH arms, can the Weapon find the early acceleration needed here?
Andrew “A Robb” Robinson, 5.75m: Latrobe Gift winner who won the Briggs 100m in a pb of 10.95, A Robb is in form! Has a mark that will put him right amongst this, but how will he handle the pressure of quality backmarkers coming for him?
Evan Pearce, the Mulgrave Meataxe, 6m: Still learning the caper, the Meataxe is not in contention here, but has plenty of improvement in him over the next 24 months.
Tom “Crazy Joe” Paavola, 6m: Not a frequent runner in the VAL, but Crazy Joe definitely has talent. A long shot, but Mirrorz is looking forward to his sister coming along tomorrow night!
Bros Kelly, the Hastings Hercules, 6m: Often attracting the eyes of the female spectators, the Hastings Hercules needs to find more this season on the track to be as successful. Has it in him, but would like to see some stronger form before backing Hercules.
Tim Eschebach, 6.25m: Talked up towards the end of last season, Eschenbach has speed to burn and with his generous handicap here is a contender. Has switched his blocks around last Tuesday so Mirrorz will be interested to see his first 30m.
Michael Bolton, 6.25m: Still can’t take this man seriously until he goes to deed poll and change his name. His parents have a lot to answer for. He can run though, so not without claims.
Clinton Gray, the Bannockburn Bullet, 6.25m: The gun is cocked, and the Bullet is ready to explode at Toorak Park. Great win in the Novice in Albury, and nothing like winning form. Will be right amongst it.
Dale Lyons, the Research Rocket, 6.25m: Whispers on the training track that the Rocket has told his grandparents to make the trip to Stonnington this weekend. A trial over 60m on Tuesday has the Rocket full of confidence.
Paul Tancredi, the Oak Park Otter, 6.5m: Mirrorz favourite the Oak Park Otter will be drawn in the second semi final and will come 5th in it. Not yet for the Otter.
Edward Ware, 6.5m: Stawell runner-up, Eddy Ware is back in the marks this season and taking some time to adjust. Ran very impressive at Rye however, and has to be considered as a potential finalist here. Mirrorz feels Ware wants another crack at Central Park.
Sean Law, the Mooroolbark Mongoose, 6.75m: Made Mirrorz look the fool by fleeing overseas just prior to the Gippsland Gift after Mirrorz had put $500 on the Mongoose in an all-in market. Did however get to spend some time with a South African Sprint Group and his first 40m is a massive improvement. A big show here.
John Nicolosi, Pascoe Vale Perfection, 6.75m: Very asthetically pleasing on the eye, Pascoe Vale Perfection coolly took out the Don last weekend. Still has a good 120m mark, and is obviously in form, so look out for at the least a semi performance.
Matty D’Astoli, Melbourne Missile, 6.75m: Cant find much on the old Missile, but closing in on 40 Mirrorz suggests to look elsewhere.
Douglas "Pass the Dougie" Greenough, 7m: In the skins at Gippsland, Pass the Dougie showed plenty of toe in between his quarter mile heat and final wins. Will give some of the backies plenty to chase in his semi.
Isaac Dunmall, 7m: The long striding youngster from the north has come a long way for this one. Needs more experience and more handicap to be competitive.
Matthew "Steady" Eddy, 7m: Getting pulled back after his big performances around NYE where the playstation took a back seat to Gift winning, Steady will need to find plenty to be in the places on Friday. Could surprise though.
Jaryd Cowley, the Canberra Crocodile, 7m: The Canberra Crocodile cant win this, but Mirrorz just loves watching the Croc roll down the track with the best set of mutton chops in professional running.
Jarrad Dartnall, the Dernancourt Dawg, 7.25m: The Dawg has only got the body right once this year to race at Ringwood, and Mirrorz cant recommend the Dawg until he gets some consistency in his racing.
Ryan Hancock, the Gawler Greyhound, 7.25m: Was sighted down at the track tonight doing some split 30s and the stopwatch don’t lie – in this up to his eyeballs. As the night wears on the Greyhound will improve so maybe have a little wager early on?
Peter Walsh, the Corio Cobra, 7.25m: Has been sneaking under the radar this season with some great performances, but Mirrorz has been keeping his eye on the veteran. May find three of his athletes in the final, so more a spectator this weekend.
Lachlan Taylor, the Taylors Lakes Tiger, 7.25m: Really starting to come into some form, the Tiger would be surprising no one with another final appearance. A proven big time performer, definitely one for consideration.
Augustine Carty-Cowling, the West Footscray Flyer, 7.25m: Primary School Hero and all-round good guy, the Flyer is always a threat over the Gift Distance. Has a good mark here, but Mirrorz was disappointed to see him with a KFC 3 piece feed tonight.
Peter O'Dwyer, the Ballarat Beefcake, 7.5m: The veteran of the field, The Beefcake will be calling on all that experience to stay ahead of the young bucks in this one. Has the mark to cause some damage.
Daniel "Pagman" Pagnoccolo, 7.5m: The Pagman - famous for performing 238 one fingered pushups - is an interesting one in this. Most of his training has been over 30m or 300m, so hard to gauge what shape his is in.
Nick "Sugar" Sampieri, 7.75m: After a long lay off, former Stawell Gift runner up Sugar is back with some respectable running at Rye. Off his Stawell run could win this, but Mirrorz isn’t sure Sugar is there just yet. Monitor betting.
Dylan Hicks, SA Sizzle, 7.75m: The Sizzle is one of a select group of South Aussies who are making the trip over for the big bucks. Somewhat of a veteran, the Sizzle’s experience in high pressure gifts will be a huge bonus, but Mirrorz cant back him in this one.
Piotr “the Dude” Dudkiewicz, 7.75m: Fantastic to see the Dude back in action in the VAL after the terrible scenes at Cricket Willow last season. Is winning just be being back out there and Mirrorz cant wait to see his carefully sculptured calves.
Josh Tiu, Doncaster Dingo, 7.75m: Famous for being backed into outright favourtism at a number of Stawell Town Hall Friday nights, the Dingo always finds plenty in big meets. Would have to go very close off this mark, but does he has the mental strength to cope with the final?
Chris Diegan, the Williamstown Witchdoctor, 7.75m: The Witchdoctor was on fire this time last year and Mirrorz expects a huge performance this weekend. Doesn’t have the marks he had last year, but not the worst. The Witchdoctor hooked up with one of Jessica Mauboy’s backup dancers last week.
Nick Magree, the Muscle of Mitcham, 8m: The Muscle of Mitcham is Mr Versatile, a threat over any distance. Has a good mark here, and will be in it a long way. With some rumours of niggles, will be interesting to see how the Muscle manages his workload this weekend.
Matthew Callard, the Hoppers Crossing Hurricane, 8.25m: A solid mark for the Hurricane, who was possibly in better form a month ago. Discount at your peril, but Mirrorz prefers others in the JH camp.
Adam Parkes, the Camberwell Crusher, 8.25m: One of the tallest sprinters in the VAL, the Crusher is probably not suited to the shorter sprint, and may find the pressure on very early from some behind him. Mirrorz will be very interested to see how the Crusher fares at Ballarat.
Christopher Eather, the Sandringham Serpent, 8.25m: Mirrorz feels the Sandringham Serpent is just learning the trade this season, and after another solid winter will be one to watch. Does spend a bit too much time on his mobile at training for mine.
Matthew Misfud, the Coburg Crusader, 8.5m: Winner of the St Albans Gift, the Crusader has made his intentions known – the Keilor Gift is the one that he wants! Not this Friday.
Matthew Harvey, the Keysborough Komodo Dragon, 8.5m: The Komodo Dragon hasn’t shown his true colours yet this season, so needs to be considered most weeks. Does the Komodo Dragon have what it takes to win a big gift?
Simon Jackson, the Bentleigh Bandit, 8.5m: Not much known about the Bentleigh Bandit, but has a habit of performing well over the sprints. Prefer others though.
Ryan Camille, Wheelers Hill Whippet, 8.5m:The Whippet is starting to regularly make semi finals now, but may lack that early turn of speed to challenge in this classy field. No.
Adam Cabble, 9m: Has had a huge argument with his folks after declaring his preference for the VAL over the VPL (Victorian Pianist League) and his Mum is now demanding AC repay the $25k she’s put in for his piano lessons. A win here would go a long way to repaying that, but has AC done the work required to collect?
Javad “Adonis” Asghari, 9.25m: Adonis has pipes the size of your quads - he is an incredible sight. Adonis has a very generous mark for a man with his pbs, so include in your exotics.
Andrew Wilcox, Lower Plenty Lightening, 9.25m: The Lightening was a very classy 400m runner back in the day, but has really struggled with the shorter sprints over the last few years. Better suited to a veterans 300m.
John Cara, East Donny Dasher, 9.25m: Ready to throw it all away last Saturday the Dasher found plenty in the wind and rain of St Bernards the next day. Has shaved down for this Friday, but Mirrorz believes the Dasher might find this field too hot.
Paul Taylor, 9.25m: A lot of rumours around Paul has structured his training at Santos stadium specifically for Stonnington. Has eased up on the 180kg squats this week, so may find a metre or two from his last race.
Tommy Toskas, Newport Napalm, 9.5m: While recently Napalm has been unimpressive, its worth noting he won Ringwood last season in 10.45 off the same mark. Unfortunately for his missus, has his nickname from his penchant for Dutch Ovens.
Mark Hignett, the Geelong West Grinder, 9.75m: The Grinder will give them something to catch, but with that project at work taking some extra hours, and his blocks practice suffering as a result, Mirrorz suggests to look elsewhere.
Travis Pike, the Hurstbridge Howitzer, 10m: The Howitzer has been in red-hot form recently and will be very competitive with his luxurious mark. Rumours around his improved performances are due to keeping his neck warm in the warm up a la Stokesy.
Noddy Angelakos, Coburg Courage, 10m: After a quick phone call this morning Mirrorz can confirm Coburg Courage has his lucky jocks on for tonight and means business. Don’t have the confidence that Courage can hold off the backies however.
Craig “Axel” Foley, 10m: Back from his efforts at Camden, Axel Foley has 90m to run in 10.5secs. To be honest he can definitely do this, so Mirrorz expects the big guy in the final.
Todd Ireland, the Warranwood Wrestler, 10.25m: Current Jack Donaldson champ, the Wrestler has plenty of strong Stawell runs to his resume off the 10m limit. Has lost a yard or two over the past few years, but a strong semi performance is possible.
Craig “Wax On” Mair, 11m: Easy to identify with his excess back hair, Wax On's mark is slowly moving out. Mirrorz would like a bit more for Wax On to be competitive here.
Kelly Sheldrick,, Vermont Viper, 11.5m: The Viper has had some solid runs of late, and could surprise plenty here. When Mirrorz gave him his weekly massage on Monday night his calves have never been looser.
Travis Soutter, Doreen Dodo, 12m: That the Dodo has only been pulled 0.75m from his Ringwood win is very interesting, also considering the Dodo has had 4 wins this season. Will be in this one a long way.
Ashleigh Whittaker, the Beaumaris Bombshell, 12m: The Bombshell comes well into consideration after her 11.81 on the weekend. Doing the basic math this being won in 10.60 last year if the Bombshell runs to that form she can definitely win it. Each way at the worst.
Good luck to all!